Deadly tornado near Chetek rated a strong EF2

Posted May 19, 2017

Two people died and dozens were injured when tornadoes flattened a mobile home park in western Wisconsin and parts of a housing subdivision in Oklahoma during powerful spring storms that battered an area from the South Plains of Texas to the Great Lakes.

Bo Mikles, 53, was killed fleeing his home when his vehicle was thrown several-hundred feet by the twister, according to the Elk City Fire Department chaplain, Danny Ringer, reported AP.

Storm chaser video captured a tornado on the ground near McLean, Texas, along the Interstate 40 corridor just west of the Oklahoma state line.

The Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs and the National Weather Service say they will be sending damage survey teams to the area today to assess the locations and the number of tornadoes.

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said a large amount of emergency crews from around the region responded to the trailer park. He told the Eau Claire newspaper the Prairie Lakes Estates trailer park is a mess and they were still searching Tuesday night. The sheriff mentioned that there was at least one child injured when the tornado struck the Prairie Lakes Estates trailer park.

A strong area of rotation within a thunderstorm was detected on radar in Southeast Polk County, Wis., around 4:40 p.m. Monday and then moved into Barron County, the National Weather Service said.

Over 25 people were injured, 17 of them were rushed to the hospital and as of Wednesday evening 1 person is in critical condition. He estimated the park had almost 50 homes.

Devin Feuerhelm told KMSP-TV that his sister, Lenna Samuelson, lives in the Wisconsin trailer park with her two daughters, Ashley and Brenna.

Elk City Public Schools were canceled for Wednesday, the school system said in a statement.

"People are looking on their phones, there's a tornado touchdown right where I live", he said.

Authorities say at least one person was hurt when a tornado touched down in central Kansas.

"I didn't know it was a tornado", Charles Vreeland, a resident of the park, said.

In western Oklahoma, a tornado ripped through Beckham County and killed one person.

The mobile park had 50 to 60 trailers.

As of 9:30 p.m., Xcel Energy reported power outages still affecting 588 customers in the Eleva, Mondovi and Strum areas, 805 in the Ladysmith area and 142 in the Chetek area.

Oklahoma's News9 reported the tornado could have been an EF-2 or EF-3, and said early estimates tracked the tornado's path as about a quarter of a mile wide.